As many of you, my readers and my family, know, I returned home a a week and a half ago quite unexpectedly. On 2 August 2009, a very dear friend from high school, Ted Foster, passed away.
There’s nothing quite like experiencing death in another country.
Even now, it’s a struggle to find the right words to say. The first day is a blur of tears and talking to my parents. The second was a day of distraction, where I couldn’t focus on anything. And the third? I flew home.
The only thought in my head the second I heard the news was: I have to get home. I had a whole conversation with my Dad before I left home about death– but in such a different context. I was so worried that something would happen to my grandparents while I was gone. They are still pretty young, but they aren’t too healthy, and I have always worried about them, although it was more acute this year, since it’s so much harder and more expensive to fly home from overseas.
You aren’t supposed to have to worry about your twenty year old friends.
You aren’t supposed to have to fly home to bury your high school friend.
Going home was definitely the right decision, although I felt a lot of pressure (from others and from myself) to see everyone, and there was of course a serious limit of time. I was blessed to have the time to miss two tutorials per class and to be able to be home for a week and a half, and to find airfare that I could afford, and to have parents who supported me coming home. It was a blessing to be able to be home, to cook food for the family, and to make a scrapbook for Ted’s mother, Sam.
Sam was my family group leader for years upon years at Prestonwood, and I’d known Ted for six years, since we met at Prestonwood and then continued to go to West together. I have always felt a part of their family, loved by Sam and Chris and Geegee and Boompa. It shakes me to realize how much this has changed since the last time we were all together, mudding at the ranch.
As I told Sam, in death Ted gave the greatest gift: friendship. Our group had drifted apart after heading our separate ways for college, but this brought us together in a strong way. And even when I left for Wellington, it was good to know that there was that support system there that has always stood behind me.
To Sam, Fred, Chris, Geegee, and Boompa: I will never forget the amazing times that I had hanging out with Ted at church and school.
To Yoojin, Laura, Erin and Brooke: At least for the next few years we’ll all return to Plano at the holidays. You guys are amazing, and the best friends a girl could ever ask for.
Coming back to Wellington was not easy, and I don’t just mean because of the 12 hour layover that I had in Sydney. Losing a friend at so young an age caused me to question a lot of things– my major, my career choice, and in general what I am doing with my life now and in the near future. I know that some of my friends share this struggle. And I hope I can find the right answer.